Thursday, March 22, 2007

Warming Leads to Cooling and The First GW Reader Challenge

I need help.

I have read the linked article 5 times and I'm still not sure what to conclude. I would like any reader to write in and comment as to what this article means and what it portends for the future. I'm not being facetious. If someone really understands this and its implications, then I would honestly like to know.

They don't come right out and say it (except once) but I think it is saying that global warming could lead to cooling. According to my read, I get five or so concrete conclusions:

1) "Changes would be felt ... around the globe"

2) "..researchers fear increased melting of the Greenland ice sheet risks disrupting the conveyor. If it stops, temperatures in northern Europe would plunge.

3) "his findings add to concerns about a 'strangling' of the Southern Ocean by greenhouse gases and global warming"

4) "Acidification of the ocean is affecting the ability of plankton -- microscopic marine plants, animals and bacteria -- to absorb carbon dioxide, reducing the ocean's ability to sink greenhouse gases to the bottom of the sea."

5) "Rintoul said that global warming was also changing wind patterns in the Antarctic region..." and "this was contributing to drought in Australia..."

So, I think the primary things to worry about are "change", decreasing temperatures, ocean "strangling", acidification leading to more gases, and drought in Australia

Anyone else?


AdamP said...

I think the point the article is making is that the current systems that regulate temperature would shut down if the earth got hot enough, leading to more extreme temperatures locally. Basically, the heat would stop being exchanged in the way it is now, leading to heat staying where it hits the earth, near the equator.

The problem I foresee with the theory is that if the temperature exchange is sufficiently interrupted, then the arctic should cool again (no cold going out usually means less heat coming in, since it's a circular current) and restore the flow of the system.

Doug Reich said...


Since you are the only one who answered you win the reader challenge!

In fact, you may be the only reader so you win all the awards I can give!

Your explanation helps me understand a little bit. But it mostly seems to support my point that first, its not totally clear what this article is saying will happen and second, I'm not sure what the consequences would be if it did happen (whatever it is).

And I could make these two comments about virtually all of the global warming arguments in general.

Thanks for helping.